Colchester/Eastleigh: Sir Bob Russell congratulates by-election winner Mike Thornton

MP Sir Bob Russell congratulates Mike Thornton, winner of the Eastleigh by-election.

MP Sir Bob Russell congratulates Mike Thornton, winner of the Eastleigh by-election. - Credit: Archant

SIR Bob Russell has congratulated fellow Liberal Democrat MP and former Colchester hotel deputy manager Mike Thornton following his Eastleigh by-election victory.

Mr Thornton, who has been a parish and borough councillor since 2007, held the Hampshire seat for the Lib Dems with 13,342 votes – a majority of 1,771 – polling 32%.

But for around 18 months in the early 1980s Mr Thornton was deputy manager of the Red Lion Hotel in Colchester High Street, living in staff quarters at the hotel.

The historical Grade I listed building, which dates back to 1465, is one of the oldest inns in the area.

The by-election was called after former Lib Dem cabinet minister Chris Huhne resigned as an MP following an admission he had perverted the course of justice over driving licence points.

UKIP finished second with 27%, Conservative came third with 25% and Labour, with 10%, took fourth place.

Mr Thornton (right) is pictured with Colchester MP Sir Bob Russell outside a committee room at Hamble, in the Eastleigh constituency, during Thursday’s by-election.

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Sir Bob was among several people from Colchester who helped in the by-election, including Colchester Borough Councillors Nick Barlow, Jo Hayes and Paul Smith.

During polling day Sir Bob delivered “early morning” leaflets, starting before 6am. Later he did some doorstep canvassing and accompanied Mr Thornton on a “walkabout” of Eastleigh town centre.

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